Millions of people suffering from a wide variety of conditions, allergies included, have benefited from chiropractic and acupuncture care even though they are not direct allergy treatments. Why? Chiropractic and acupuncture both help your body to function at its best, and that is especially important if you suffer from allergies.
But first, what is an allergy? Your immune system works to keep you 100% natural, organic and unadulterated! It recognizes and destroys anything not supposed to be in you: bacteria, viruses, pollutants, dust, pollen, drugs, tumors, even dead pieces of your own cells. A healthy immune system means high resistance to disease and infection, better ability to deal with stress, and greater health and well-being.
In essence, an allergy is an excessive reaction by the immune system to a substance that is normally harmless. Such a substance is called an “allergen”. The primary allergens are pollen, ragweed, dust, mites, pet hair, and certain chemical products.
Your immune system is influenced by your nerves, hormones, diet, and emotional stress. If it is unhealthy, it may fail to recognize and remove abnormal cells (such as cancers), overcome infection, react properly to foreign substances (bee bites, penicillin, foods, drugs), become suppressed (as in AIDS) or even attack itself!
Conventional medicine usually focuses on treating the symptoms of allergies, not necessarily the cause. Since runny eyes, irritation, redness, fullness of the sinuses and other allergy symptoms are caused by histamines, antihistamines are often prescribed to dry mucous membranes.
What can Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) & Acupuncture do for allergies?
In TCM, an allergic reaction is seen as a manifestation of the body’s difficulty to adjust to its environment. Acupuncturists therefore treat the allergic person, not the allergies. According to the concept of the organ system paradigm and their functions in TCM, weaknesses of the “System of the Lung”(*) or “System of the Liver”(*) favors these allergic reactions.
(*) implies the Traditional Chinese Medicine terminology. It does not represent solely the organ but a complex system. For example The System of the Lung implies a much larger concept than the lungs themselves. It involves the respiratory system, the skin, the mucus membrane etc.
The “System of the Lung”(*) is the first organ to come into contact with allergens. In a weakened state, it will be vulnerable to these substances. The “System of the Liver”(*) meanwhile helps the body adapt to its environment. If compromised an exaggerated response to allergens will occur and the appearance of the symptoms described above.
Strategy of care for acupuncture:
Acute period: treatments are focused on minimizing the symptoms as much as possible and can include acupuncture and Chinese herbs.
Prevention period: treatments are focused on strengthening the body and treating the underlying disharmonies.
By stimulating the energy of the “Lung” and by regulating the “Liver” the acupuncture treatment aims to calm the exaggerated response to the allergens. When symptoms are not so present, the treatment will aim to balance and strengthen the identified TCM disharmonies that contribute to the problem.
What can chiropractic do for allergies?
By releasing stress on the nervous system, chiropractic permits the immune system to function more effectively – something all allergy sufferers need. A healthy nervous system helps the immune system!
Chiropractors correct a basic cause of body malfunction to heal your immune system. “A healthy body is capable of neutralizing these toxic substances and a body which has malfunctioning defense mechanisms cannot. The emphasis on allergies must be on building a healthy body, not on trying to use evasive tactics by eliminating all the allergens.
Among the many things contributing to your health: the quality of the air, food and water you take in; how you handle emotional stress; your inherited weaknesses and strengths; your use of drugs; exercise; and relaxation -a healthy nervous system is absolutely essential. In some people it is a major factor and can make the difference between a life of health, strength and vitality or a life of disease, weakness and disability.